The upcoming Local Government Elections, (LGE) will serve as a preview of what to expect from the newly elected Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission, (GECOM) Justice James Patterson at the General Elections slated for in 2020.
This is the assertion of a few public commentators who recently spoke on the issue surrounding the 84-year-old retired Judge, appointed to sit at the helm of Elections Commission.
Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan is among those who commented on the selection of the GECOM chair. He believes that the LGE is “a good place,” to allow the new Chairman to show that he is truly fit and proper for the job.
“I have no doubt in my mind that the President would have made a selection based on merit and in keeping with the constitution of Guyana.” The Minister said that he welcomes the appointment of the GECOM chair.
“I commend the actions of the President in selecting a candidate to advert in any delays in the Local Government Elections, (LGE) which is constitutionally due before the end of next year.”
The Minister also holds the view that the lists and names submitted by Leader of the opposition, Bharrat Jagdeo, did not contain candidates that can be objective at the elections, or fit and proper for the position.
By appointing a chairman, the Minister noted that the President brought an end to the ongoing charade.
And I wouldn’t second guess the choice of the President. I believe that he would have selected a candidate who can handle the rigours of an Election.
On Thursday evening, Patterson, 84, was sworn in by President Granger at State House, a move Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, described as unconstitutional. He has since threatened to withdraw his party’s participation at the national level.
Jagdeo submitted 18 names for the president’s consideration. The most recent was on August 25, when he submitted a third list of names that included Major General Joseph Singh; Attorney-at-Law, Mr. Teni Housty; Attorney-at-Law, Mr. Sanjeev Datadin; Mrs. Annette Arjoon-Martins; Pastor Onesi La Fleur; and Former Magistrate Mr. Krishnadatt Persaud.
The opposition leader had said that the president has gone against a formula that has been in place for the past 20 years.
“Since 1991, a formula established by former U.S. President, Jimmy Carter of the Carter Center, was used in the selection of the chairman. This formula establishes the selection of six commissioners chosen by the president and the opposition leader.
“The president selects three commissioners and the opposition selects three while a seventh person, the Chairperson, is selected based on the selection of a person nominated by the opposition.”
The Private Sector Commission,(PSC) and the National Association of Agricultural Commercial and Industrial Employees (NAACIE) have since described the actions of the President as very disturbing.
“The President, who must have been advised by his comrades, is heading down a perilous path which we believe is not in the interest of our country and all Guyanese. It is our view that the
President’s actions represent a reversal of the democratic advances we have made over the years,” the group stated.
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